Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate at Mississippi Valley State University has voted "no confidence" in President Donna Oliver, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., reported. A letter from faculty members cited five reasons for the vote: "(1) the continued decline in enrollment, (2) no faculty pay raises in five years, (3) no serious efforts to raise outside funds, (4) the general treatment of fellow faculty members and (5) the university not being moved in a positive direction." Oliver said she was surprised by the vote, adding that she hoped to work well with professors. She disputed the grievance on raises, saying that those who have won tenure or been promoted have received raises. She also said that enrollment declines preceded her arrival at the university.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 4:30am

With voters in an anti-tax move, many higher education leaders didn't see 2011 as an ideal time for bond referenda, but a few went forward -- with mixed results:

  • Texas voters approved a measure that will authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue bonds to create a long-term funding source for a student loan program, Bloomberg reported. Educators said that the authorization was key to meet rising demand for student loans.
  • Voters in the San Mateo Community College District failed to give the necessary super-majority to authorize $564 million in bonds for facilities improvements and technology at the California system's three colleges, Peninsula Press reported. The measure received support from 52.8 percent of voters, not the required 55 percent.
  • In North Carolina, voters narrowly approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase that will finance construction and renovation at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, The Asheville Citizen-Times reported.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 4:35am

Some of the students, faculty members and alumni outraged that Cooper Union is considering plans that would end its policy of free tuition are turning their attention to the institution's finances, The New York Times reported. Cooper Union officials have cited a deteriorating financial position to justify the possibility of charging tuition, and many of those close to the institution say that they should have learned of fiscal difficulties earlier. Many are now calling for an inquiry into the roots of the financial problems.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 3:00am

The people in charge of Football Bowl Subdivision teams, institutions and conferences are “overwhelmingly” white and male, but at 19, the number of minority head coaches reached a record high in the 2011 season, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. “Even though there was progress toward diversity, we can hardly say we are close to looking like America when it comes to who is leading college sport,” said Richard Lapchick, the institute’s director and principal author of the report. Of the college presidents at the 120 institutions, 90.8 percent are white and 81.7 percent are male. Among athletics directors,  88.3 percent are white and 95.8 percent are male. Commissioners of the institutions' conferences are all white and male. In total, 91.2 percent of the 365 campus leadership positions accounted for in the report are filled by white people. Seventy-five percent and 84.2 percent of the college presidents and athletic directors, respectively, are white men (only three presidents are minority women). In contrast, black students make up the majority -- 52.1 percent -- of the athletes playing football for the colleges.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 4:38am

Brazilian police officers on Tuesday forced several hundred students to end their occupation of a building at the University of Sao Paulo, the Associated Press reported. About 70 students were arrested. Students took over the building a week ago to protest the police presence on their campus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 3:00am

A medical professor at George Washington University who is alleged not to have taught classes, and simply to have awarded grades of A, has resigned, the Associated Press reported. Students complained to the university provost about the alleged lack of teaching.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 4:20am

South Korean officials announced Monday that the government is shutting down two universities -- Myungshin University and Sungwha College -- that were found to have violated the law through "serious corruption and irregularities," including embezzlement and creating fake documents, The Korea Herald reported. The government will help students current enrolled at the two institutions transfer elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Barry Albright of the University of North Florida introduces and describes a new species of dinosaur recently discovered in southern Utah. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at two California State University campuses -- East Bay and Dominguez Hills -- will strike for a day on Nov. 17 to protest a decision to withhold negotiated pay raises, according to the California Faculty Association. The association’s board of directors voted Monday to approve the strike.  The raises, for the previous two academic years, were withheld after the state cut funding, according to the Associated Press. Informational picketing is being organized today and Wednesday on all Cal State campuses in the state.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 3:00am

Outrage is growing at leaders of Pennsylvania State University -- and not only at those who are facing criminal charges over allegations of the sex abuse of young boys, and of university officials lying about it (charges denied by all involved). Petitions have appeared calling for the resignation of Graham Spanier as president of the university. This Wednesday, Spanier and his wife were to be honored at a Penn State fund-raising dinner, and organizers announced Monday that the Spaniers had requested that the event be postponed in light of the events of the last week, StateCollege.com reported.

Even as officials said that Joe Paterno, the legendary football coach, was not a target of a criminal investigation, calls came for his resignation or firing. A photograph sent on Twitter shows a sign -- since removed, according to other reports -- around a statute of Paterno outside the Penn State football stadium. The sign features a line from the Penn State alma mater -- "may no act of ours bring shame."

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